Iowa State University


Jim Melsa, Engineering, (515) 294-5935
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- Excavation began in June, but the construction phase of the Engineering Teaching and Research Complex (ETRC) becomes official on Saturday, Sept. 20, at 11 a.m. That's when Iowa State University officials, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends will gather for a "groundbreaking" ceremony for phase I of the ETRC. The public is invited.

Featured speakers at the groundbreaking include Gov. Terry Branstad, Speaker of the House Ron Corbett (R-Cedar Rapids), Stanley and Helen Howe, Regents President Owen Newlin, ISU President Martin Jischke, Engineering Dean James Melsa and President of the Engineering Student Council Stacy Edler.

The $61 million ETRC will encompass two buildings -- phase I, or Stanley and Helen Howe Hall, will be on the west side of Bissell Road, and phase II on the east side. The buildings will be connected by a skywalk and tunnel.

The ETRC signals a strong commitment to the future of engineering by Iowa State and by the State of Iowa, according to Jim Melsa, dean of the College of Engineering.

"ETRC is the largest capital project ever undertaken by Iowa State," Melsa said. "It is a clear signal that engineering will continue to play a crucial role in the university into the next millennium. The state of Iowa also has gotten behind this project and legislators have shown through the commitment to ETRC that engineers in Iowa will remain on the cutting edge of their profession."

When completed, the 264,000-gross-square-foot complex will include high-tech classrooms, lecture halls and auditoriums with multi-media and distance learning equipment; labs for technology research; the C2 virtual reality room; a wind tunnel for teaching and research; and communications technologies linking Iowa State to schools, community colleges, engineers and industry.

Howe Hall is expected to be completed by early 2000. Construction of phase II of ETRC, will begin in the summer of 1998. Completion of the entire complex is scheduled for December 2001.

In case of rain, the groundbreaking ceremony for Howe Hall will be moved to the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

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